LML Steering play 11-1 Gearbox wore out?

TowU4Free

#SecretSquirrel
Aug 27, 2011
469
5
18
Main question: Anyone ever heard of needing to replace steering box on LML/L5P trucks with a little miles on them?

My truck:
94k miles (easy miles mind you)
Cognito Pisk
Fresh alignment and new 325/60/20 tires on stock wheels

Alignment specs:
.9 Positive Camber both sides (I think this is excessive and turns out they didnt even adjust it from the markers I made doing the control arms)
2.4L caster 2.9R caster
.06 Left Toe .03 Right Toe
Total Toe .08

Issue is the play in the wheel makes it unnerving at times driving on some of the tighter roads and 10 fold when pulling my boat. I suspect the PISK rules out pitman/idler arm since it pretty much would bandaid that even if they were bad. I checked them when I did the Pisk and they seemed fine.

Anyone had to replace the gearbox at less than 100k? Could it be partially due to alignment?

I've read its hit or miss with Redhead boxes and a lot of folks like to get a good low mileage used unit. I emailed Bluetop as well to see if they offer one. I'll absolutely drop the coin on a tight box if it will make me feel confident again towing on these roads... It's awful
 

DAVe3283

Heavy & Slow
Sep 3, 2009
3,436
42
48
Boise, ID, USA
Your 325/60R20 tires are a smidge bigger than what I run (35x12.5), and I am lucky to get 50k miles out of a steering setup. Large tires are hell on the GM steering system. For what it is worth, I put a RedHead steering box in about 50k miles ago and it is completely trash now. Swapping it out for the PSC HD unit, hopefully that lasts better. If you want to get more than 100k miles out of GM steering, it need to be completely stock, including tires & rims.

You're going to need to get a friend to help you find the play (or pay a shop). Have someone wiggle the wheel a small amount while you climb under and look for where the motion stops. If the steering shaft isn't moving, you need a new upper or lower steering shaft. If the shaft is moving, but the steering box output isn't, the box is the problem. If the box output moves but the centerlink doesn't, the pitman arm ball is bad (the Cognito PISK doesn't necessarily prevent this). So on and so forth until you get to the knuckles.

I like to start with a small amount of movement of the wheel, find the first set of slop, then increase the wheel movement to check downstream components for slop too. It is not uncommon for more than one part of the steering system to be worn out. If one part is completely trashed, it can be difficult to impossible to check downstream parts, so you might have to do this in stages.

That is how I handle this kind of situation. Other people might know a simpler way, but this has worked for me.
 

OleBlackyLBZ

Active member
May 22, 2020
217
40
28
I have replaced wheel bearings and ball joints, pitman/idler arms and wheel bearings multiple times on my truck. But I still have the factory steering box with 280,000 on it. Seems fine
 

TowU4Free

#SecretSquirrel
Aug 27, 2011
469
5
18
I'm going to do what Dave suggested and go from there. My LMM had 130k on it if I recall and that truck seen track time, dirt and pavement but i recall it handled the road just fine even with 20x10s.
 

MAXX IT OUT

<<<IT WORKS
Mar 1, 2013
1,735
20
38
Des Moines, Iowa
Not sure if you can do it on the newer steering boxes, but you could check is if the hight of the pinon in the steering box needs adjusted(basically if you can push the pitman up into the steering box). My cousin who does alignment for a local shop here did it to my 2002 work truck with 200000 miles and took out the 11-1 o'clock steering wheel input needed to keep the truck going straight down the road.
 

08lmm72mm

Member
May 13, 2019
139
19
18
Saskatchewan, Canada
Your 325/60R20 tires are a smidge bigger than what I run (35x12.5), and I am lucky to get 50k miles out of a steering setup. Large tires are hell on the GM steering system. For what it is worth, I put a RedHead steering box in about 50k miles ago and it is completely trash now. Swapping it out for the PSC HD unit, hopefully that lasts better. If you want to get more than 100k miles out of GM steering, it need to be completely stock, including tires & rims.

You're going to need to get a friend to help you find the play (or pay a shop). Have someone wiggle the wheel a small amount while you climb under and look for where the motion stops. If the steering shaft isn't moving, you need a new upper or lower steering shaft. If the shaft is moving, but the steering box output isn't, the box is the problem. If the box output moves but the centerlink doesn't, the pitman arm ball is bad (the Cognito PISK doesn't necessarily prevent this). So on and so forth until you get to the knuckles.

I like to start with a small amount of movement of the wheel, find the first set of slop, then increase the wheel movement to check downstream components for slop too. It is not uncommon for more than one part of the steering system to be worn out. If one part is completely trashed, it can be difficult to impossible to check downstream parts, so you might have to do this in stages.

That is how I handle this kind of situation. Other people might know a simpler way, but this has worked for me.


My 2008 has 155,000 miles I've used 35s on 22s since 60000. My steering box is the original.